Submitted Date 05/29/2019

"Too young to grow wings," they told her. "You're just a fledgling yet."
But she didn't believe it.
For years she'd poke at her shoulder blades, yearning to feel a stirring beneath the flesh, scratching and hoping for the itch of feathers poking out through the delicate skin. By age nine she was climbing high places hoping that the fear and adrenaline would force the downy feathers to burst from her back.
"You're not a bird," they finally admitted. "You'll never have wings."
But she didn't believe it.
In her heart she understood that they were old, that they never knew how to grow wings and were too narrow-minded to realize she was different. Each day she woke, she checked her back first thing. She counted the notches in her spine and felt for anything that might resemble growth.
"Maybe they're right," she whispered. "Maybe I was never meant to leave the ground."
But she didn't believe it.
In her heart she knew that the sky was where she belonged, pressed flush against the clouds with sun draped shoulders and cheeks adorned with a thousand freckles from a thousand kisses of the sun. Still, no feathers broke through and her dreams began to fade.
"You're wrong," a girl announced one day. "You're meant to touch the sky."
But she didn't believe it.
How could she believe such simple words when the years rolled by and each crested against an unchanging form? The girl took a pen and traced the outline of a feather against her neck, trailing it down her spine. Goosebumps littered her skin but the girl's touch was soft and warm, and for the first time her probing fingers found proof of flight.
"See," the girl muttered softly. "You've always been able to fly."
She believed it.

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